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Do Less to Accomplish More

leadership| development| productivity
February 10, 20234 min read

When I meet with leaders, I find that most leaders are too busy.  They attempt to do too many things in their company.  They assume that the more they do, the more they accomplish.  Doing more doesn’t help you accomplish more.  It keeps you from doing so.  Read more to discover 5 ways leaders limit what they accomplish.

1. Doing too much causes a leader to do things poorly.

It’s difficult to do quality work when you spread yourself too thin.  Busy leaders are always pressed for time.  They run from project to project and deadline to deadline.  Doing many things makes it difficult to do superb work. 

Have you stopped lately to list out all the things you do?  Most leaders directly manage or do 10-15 areas in their company.  Although all these areas need to be done, the leader doesn’t need to personally do them. 

Typically, leaders are good at 1-3 areas.  That means they will do the other 7-12 areas at a mediocre level.  Mediocrity doesn’t move the needle forward. 

When you first begin your business, you likely need to manage numerous areas.  As your company grows, delegate those areas of mediocrity as soon as possible. 

Stop trying to do so much.  Do less so that you can do what you do better.

2.   Doing too much keeps a leader from improving.

It’s difficult to improve your work when you spread yourself too thin.  Getting the work done is important.  Improving how you do it is more important. 

Many leaders are like firemen.  Because they attempt to manage too much, they constantly put out fires. 

Putting out fires prevents you from improving what you do.  You find yourself in a status quo mode at best.  You have to work very hard just to keep up with the daily tasks. 

As a leader, you should be improving how you do what you do.  Improvement is difficult when you can barely handle your daily load.

Reduce your load so you can improve what you do.  If you don’t have time to grow and improve, you are too busy! 

3.   Doing too much exhausts a leader’s energy.

It’s difficult to have good energy when you spread yourself too thin.  No matter how energetic you are, you have limits.  When you are young, you can push and overextend yourself easily.  As you mature, that drive is hard to maintain.

Limiting what you do enables you to focus your energy in key areas.  Your energy functions like an intense laser on a few tasks.  If you attempt to do numerous tasks, you dilute your energy and exhaust yourself. 

Choose wisely how much you do!

4.   Doing too much caps a leader’s company. 

It’s difficult to grow your company when you spread yourself too thin.  Growing a company is hard work.  To scale a company requires a leader to hire and manage people. 

If you are buried in the daily minutia of working in your company, it is difficult to manage people effectively. 

Most owners function as coach-players.  They are like an athlete who plays on and coaches their team simultaneously.  While this is possible, it is very hard to do well.

As a player, you must focus on how to play your position.  As a coach, you must focus on how the team can win the game.  Very few people can do these two tasks simultaneously well.

Trying to do them both simultaneously can cap out your company.  Many leaders become the ceiling for their companies.  The company cannot rise higher than the leader.  The leader is the cap or ceiling of his or her company.   

Leaders must work more on coaching and less on playing (working) in their companies.  Doing so enables the company to grow.

5.   Doing too much reduces a leader’s profit.    

It’s difficult to maximize your profit when you spread yourself too thin.  Leaders take on roles to save money.  That may be necessary when you first begin your business, but as you grow you want to decrease your roles. 

Freeing a leader will almost always increase a company’s profit.  Leaders want to increase their profits.  Given adequate time and energy, they will find ways to make more money.  It’s just how they are wired.    

Leaders must value their time and skills.  One way to do so is to assign a dollar value to what you do.   

If you are doing your company’s books, then you are doing a $25-$35 per hour job.  My guess is that your personal pay level is more than that amount.  Why not hire a bookkeeper to do your payables, receivables, and payroll so that you can utilize your valuable time to make more money? 

Leaders should constantly evaluate their time.  Limit what you do to only what you should do.  Delegate everything else.  Doing so will increase your profit. 

I challenge you as a leader to work at doing less.  Stop taking on too much.  It doesn’t help your company or life.  It hurts you. 

Leaders are hardworking individuals who give themselves to their business.  Just make sure you give yourself to the right areas of your business and to as few areas as possible.  Otherwise, you may work hard but accomplish little.   

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Dave Pennington PhD

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